What can you do to drop weight, look great and feel better? Well, it really depends on how much you want ‘it’ because there’s a multitude of ways to do it, and we probably know most of them, but the bottom line is: what suits YOU best?
Everyone is different and one diet is not for everyone. If you are keen and ready to get your eating and drinking sorted, at least for a wee while, then read on and we’ll give you some of our tried and tested methods, one of which we hope will appeal to most people…maybe :)
We’ll start with the ‘low sugar’, ‘no added sugar’, ‘read every label’ or ‘live on mostly fresh food’ diet: you can call it whatever you like!
Now I’d rather run a marathon than go on a diet and I’ve always preferred exercise to eating less or giving up stuff I like. That was until I read ‘Sweet Poison’ and it proved that most of the fructose we eat turns straight into fat and our body prefers to run on glucose, unless we are ultra-athletes, then it runs on whatever goes in your mouth and burns it straight away, but the majority of us are nowhere near that. Added sugar (the white stuff) is made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. But you know that, right?
Giving up added sugar means that most of your food will get used for fuel during the day to do all the things you need to do, like: think, walk, run for a bus etc …& within, internal organ stuff, digesting food, etc. Any extra activities you do will create a calorie deficit, and your body will then break into your fat stores to replenish the calories you’ve burnt, and are still burning, after for e.g,. your 1 hour TRX class. Bonus, huh!!
How to do it? Read every label (Nutritional Information Panel, or NIP for short) and add up your sugar for the day, including your natural sugars such as fruit, lactose in dairy, maltose and dextrose in beer and wine. You are aiming for 90grams of sugar a day – no more than 30% of that figure should be from ‘added sugar’.
Below is a good example of a low sugar day!
For Breakfast: 100ml of milk has 4.7 grams of sugar (lactose), 100grams of porridge has 1 gram of sugar (from carbohydrates), 150 grams of strawberries has 7 grams of sugar.
Breakfast total: 12.7 grams
Snack: 1 apple is 10 grams of sugar
Snack total: 10 grams
For lunch: 2 hardboiled egg (4 grams of sugar), half a bag of spinach (no sugar), 1 tomato chopped (2.4 grams), ½ a cucumber chopped, 150 grams of tuna (no sugar), 2 Tbsp of olive oil (no sugar), 2 Tbsp of mixed seeds and walnuts (3 grams of sugar), ½ cup of feta (3 grams of sugar), 1 cup of chopped celery stalks chopped (2 grams of sugar), squeeze of a lemon and chopped parsley.
Sugar total for lunch is: 14.4 grams
Snack: 1 slice of sour dough bread (1.5 grams of sugar) with almond butter (2 Tbsp is 1 gram of sugar)
Snack total: 3.5 grams
Dinner: 100grams of black bean pasta (9 grams of sugar); 1 cup of fried prawns with Cajun spices, garlic and lemon (no sugar); rocket (no sugar), cherry tomatoes (1 cup is 6 grams of sugar) and 2 Tbsp of crème fresh (2 grams of sugar)
Sugar total for dinner is: 17 grams of sugar
2 glasses of red wine: 175 ml each is 2.8 grams of sugar in total
Drinks: water, peppermint tea and coffee with added milk
Total for the day: 60.4 grams
Added-sugars appear on packaged products, read the nutrition label for sugar totals, although these often include the natural sugars from the carbohydrates. Look out for these words, which are used to describe added sugars: cane sugar, honey, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup (hfcs), fruit juice concentrate, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, glucose, crystalline sucrose, nectars, raw sugar, coconut sugar. Avoid any products with the above mentioned in the ingredients list.
The Low Carb Diet
This is the creation of Tim Ferris who wrote the ‘Four Hour Body’, which is an amazing book we read about five years ago. After reading it, I gave the ‘Low Carb’ diet a go and it worked: I cut body fat and did very little exercise. I was living on my own at the time, for 9 weeks, as Jack was in Los Angeles training to be a Bikram Hot Yoga teacher. I was running our business in Australia and had very little time to train or think about meals. It was perfect because I could have two glasses of red wine every night if I wished (and I wished!) and didn’t have to give up tea or coffee (which I needed, right?).
Also, it was really basic and easy because you could only eat a very limited diet. The thing I really loved though was Day 7 – aaah! Binge day, where you could eat whatever you liked! Of course being a healthy eater (ish), my binge was not pepperoni and sausage pizza chased by Krispy Kreme donuts (you could have that if you wanted), it was more like a big green smoothie, sour dough bread, fruit, cheese and biscuits and a cocktail or two! I pretty much stuck to this for 30 days.
How does it work?
- Avoid all white carbohydrates: all bread, rice, cereal, potatoes, pasta, wraps or fried food with breading.
- Only drink water, unsweetened tea, coffee (cream is allowed but no milk).
- You can drink up to 2 glasses of red wine per night (beer and white wine are not allowed)
- No fruit at all.
- Eat from the list of allowed foods – see below.
- Take one day off per week and eat whatever you like for 24 hours (its compulsory-honest!)
- No grains – whatsoever!
- No diary except for cottage cheese or cream in coffee
List of Proteins: Eggs, Chicken, beef, fish or pork
Legumes: Lentils, black beans, Borlotti beans, Red beans, Soya beans
All vegetables except white potatoes and avocados and tomatoes in moderation.
Dairy: cottage cheese
Condiments: Olive oil, macadamia oil, coconut oil, salt and pepper, lemon juice, mustard powder, Tamari soy sauce
Nuts: Almonds, brazil nuts, seeds and nut butters
I had to eat legumes with every meal to feel full and I made a lot of lentil dip and ate a lot of soup. It’s not fun-food and it’s restrictive, except for Day 7, but it definitely worked for me and has worked for thousands of other people who have followed the diet. I did not lose weight, but I cut my body fat.
A normal day looked like this:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with chopped spinach, smoked salmon and a dollop of lentil dip.
Snack: Black bean salad with spinach, green beans, asparagus, spices and cottage cheese
Lunch: Tuna salad with spinach, tomato, avocado, grated carrot, roasted pumpkin, onions, olive oil, lemon juice, chopped herbs.
Dinner: Minestrone soup with side salad of spinach, nuts and seeds, olive oil, tomato, cucumber, celery.
I would highly recommend you read the book before you try this as the explanations as to how it works in regard to your metabolism, especially the binge day, and the results you can expect to achieve are super-informative. http://fourhourbody.com/
The Fast Diet by Michael Mosely
We both highly recommend reading the ‘Fast Diet’ and ‘Fast Exercise’ by Michael Mosely. We loved them both! https://thefastdiet.co.uk/.
Doing the fast diet was a fantastic experience to rediscover what it feels like to be really hungry between meals and feel your tummy growling and to know that you can survive and nothing will happen to you: the feeling soon passes and you survive going to bed a bit hungry. The next day you feel lighter and there is a real sense of achievement. Of course you have to give this a go for at least a month to see the benefits, such as weight loss, improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity. This is a great lifestyle plan for someone who is suffering from bad health due to their weight or lifestyle. Intermittent fasting is powerful stuff: it can change your body and your mind.
After you’ve read ‘Fast Diet’, read ‘Fast Exercise’, the science makes sense: athletes have been doing ‘fast exercises’ for years, but it’s pretty new in the fitness world and the reason most new fitness classes are short, sharp and high intensity! The higher the intensity (with breaks) the more you burn calories after class, sometimes for up to 24 hours!
How do you do it?
2 days of fasting and 5 days of eating normally. They recommend that you do not fast on consecutive days but rather pick two days with a normal eating day in-between, so for e.g. Fast on a Mon and Wed. Women eat 500 calories and men eat 600 calories.
A normal day on the Fast diet looks like this:
40 grams of oats with water and a handful of blueberries
1 hardboiled egg and a slice of melon for lunch
150 grams of white fish steamed, poached with a big plate of greens (spinach, sliced greens, broccoli all steam or wilted).
Tea, coffee (no milk) and water all allowed. The meal above is around 500 calories.
No alcohol or soft drinks.
The Alkaline Cure
We love this diet/lifestyle/way of eating and we learnt about it by doing the 2 week Alkaline Cure, which is much more than just weight-loss. The ‘Cure’ alkalines your body, so you are eating mostly alkaline foods and reducing acidic foods, balancing out your PH levels. Most of us eat too fast, too much and too late. This overhauls your diet, looks at when you eat, how you eat and the best side effect of all, is how amazing you feel and look after! We still use a lot of the things we learnt on the alkaline diet in our daily diet now. We add greens to everything (hence we go through a bag of spinach a day). If we have soup, we add broccoli and spinach. If we have eggs, we have spinach, cucumber, celery etc.
Acidic foods are meat, dairy, fish, alcohol, coffee, most fruit and nuts, all added-sugars, eggs. The trick is to balance your acidic meals by adding alkaline foods or eating at least one meal a day that is purely alkaline foods.
Restore your energy levels, reboot your metabolism and slow down signs of ageing. http://www.alkalinecure.com/ The book is fantastic with loads of tips to aid digestion, detox and heaps of gorgeous recipes along the way. If it’s glowing skin and shiny eyes your are after, then this is one for you, with the added bonus of a flat stomach after 2 weeks.
A day on the Alkaline cure
Hot water with lemon or apple cider vinegar (with the ‘mother’)
Breakfast: Fresh berries and melon; avocado mashed on spelt toast or ryvitta
Lunch: Grilled lamb chop with fennel, cucumber, grapefruit and fig salad (they give you recipes for the salads)
Dinner: Alkaline minestrone with a slice of spelt bread and goats cheese
Herbal tea and water all day
So there you have it! The above have worked for us and lots of people like us. We’ve tried and tested all of them. If you want to reduce your belly before the real summer arrives, then concentrate less on the exercise and more on what you are putting in your mouth. A plan of action, something to follow and adhere to is often an easier option. Whichever one you choose will depend on your personality, likes and dislikes, but they all work in the end….consistency & a tad of discipline required (you can’t ‘buy’ these though!)
Our recommendations – you will lose weight or body fat on all of them, but….. if you want to lose weight fast, then the ‘low carb’ diet is a good one. If you want to give up added sugar or cut back on your sugar, then a month of reading labels and reducing your sugar intake will do it – you’ll change your eating habits forever; if you are worried about your health, can’t stand dieting in any shape or form and love a drink most nights, then do the Fast diet, it’s only two days of deprivation a week; if you want to look amazing, like seriously glowing skin and eyes, then try the Alkaline diet.
I’m doing the Alkaline diet this summer and roping my mum and sister in too (hubby’s going AWOL!).
If you want any more information on any of the above, then please just send me a message.